Yup! Or, as it’s usually known, short court.
I’ve become a huge fan of starting off with short court. I find that I play much better when I spend a few minutes hitting the ball gently, focusing on things like feel off the racket and slow-motion technique while allocating special attention to what I’ll be working on that day. Recently, that’s meant things like turning head and neck as single unit to watch the contact, making sure I’m giving myself enough space on both sides, engaging the wrist in the newfangled modern way (lag-and-snap, y’all, lag-and snap!), and more.
I find short court to be a great way to sharpen my attention and get ready for the full-on session to come. It’s like putting a toe in the water rather than diving into the pool straightaway.
Most if not all undertakings have an underlying process, a sequence that allows them to unfold with all the style and elegance they’re capable of. When you jump over that process, when you cut to the ball-banging chase, you’re denying yourself the chance to get in synch with the beneath-the-surface rhythms and the quality of attention that let you make the most of your game.
This is why the alternative name ‘micro-tennis’ occurred to me. The power of what’s commonly known as short court doesn’t come from the size of the court — it comes from the quality of attention that it makes possible. Micro-tennis gives us a great opportunity to drill down to subtle levels without having to deal with that big scary ball coming at you.
Transitions matter — a lot. Micro-tennis makes a great bridge that lets us pass from our ordinary off-court reality into the altered state that is part of tennis’s great allure.
Want to increase the odds of getting into flow? Sart off with micro-tennis.
Are you a short-court aficionado? Do you honor the rhythms of transition on the court and off it?